Yei hospital bombed / Food risks / China trade / Oil: Protest to UK / Arakis / Pipeline / InterNet / Kassala clashes / Medani bomb / Kampala summit? / Women's

"Berlin Wall" / OAU-refugees


AIRDROPS TO BAHR AL-GHAZAL RESUME: `The UN World Food Programme resumed airdrops of food to thousands of starving people' in Bahr al-Ghazal on 26 February, says AFP, after the government in Khartoum lifted a three-week ban. Aid agencies were authorised to fly to six locations in Bahr al-Ghazal - Akuem, Adet, Ajiep, Pakor, Wau and Aweil, said Gillian Wilcox, spokesperson for Operation Lifeline Sudan, who added, "We are continuing to negotiate for increased access."

WFP said it had also trucked urgently needed food from Uganda to Bahr al-Ghazal, with 120 tonnes of sorghum delivered after a three-week 900km journey. It would sustain 51,000 people for six days. Sixteen tonnes of cereals were air-dropped to some 14,000 people in Adet, and a second drop was planned that same day. (WFP / AFP 26/Feb/98)

RED CROSS SIGNS NEW AGREEMENT: The Sudan government has allowed the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to resume its activities in Sudan `after settlement of all the issues which led to the suspension of the committee's work' in November 1996, according to State Minister for Social Planning, Maj-Gen Hassan Uthman Dahawi. He told SUNA that a new agreement would be signed by the government and ICRC setting out priorities for the future. (SUNA / SWB 14/Mar/98)

RIEK CALLS FOR LIFELINE BASE TO BE MOVED TO JUBA: At his meeting with Alan Goulty, the British ambassador, on 8 March, Riek Machar called for the headquarters of UN Operation Lifeline Sudan to be moved from Lokichokkio in NW Kenya to Juba. He said it would boost the peace process.

Machar added that contacts were being made with all the southern rebel factions to unite them, saying that John Garang had the options of either joining the "peace march" or being an agent of forces opposed to peace, including the northern opposition and "foreign circles" attempting to overthrow the regime in Khartoum. (SUNA / SWB 8/Mar/98)


"ERITREAN" BORDER ATTACK REPULSED: Armed Forces spokesman Lt-Gen Abd al- Rahman

Sirr al-Khatim said on 2 March that the Sudanese armed forces had `aborted an Eritrean attack on some border posts in Kassala sector' on 26 February. The posts included Shallalob, Luffa, Gargaf, Abu Gamel and Gharadah, which came under artillery shelling from inside the Eritrean border, followed by an attack on Shallalob and Gargaf using tanks. The spokesman said the aggressors were `crushed' and fled back to Eritrea, while quantities of weapons and ammunition were captured. (SUNA / SWB 2/Mar/98)

VILLAGES SHELLED: The eastern border villages of Awad, Gulsah and Hudrah were shelled on 4 March, according to the Sudanese armed forces spokesman. Water sources and schools were damaged but there were no casualties, Lt-Gen Abd al-Rahman Sirr al-Khatim said. (SUNA / SWB 5/Mar/98)


HOSPITAL BOMBED - SEVEN KILLED: A Sudanese military aircraft bombed Yei on 5 March, hitting the town's hospital and killing seven people, according to the SPLA in Nairobi. The Antonov bomber dropped a total of 13 bombs - estimated at between 500 and 1000 pounds - in four runs. Five hit the hospital run by Norwegian People's Aid, and one directly hit the outpatient wing and severely damaged a recently renovated operating theatre. Those who died had sought refuge in a bomb shelter. There were no figures for the wounded. (SPLA / AFP 5/Mar/98)

SPLITS AMONG EX-REBELS: Commander Paulino Matib has decided to pull out of the Southern Sudan Independence Movement (SSIM) because it is `not sincere in resolving disputes within its ranks,' his aide, Dr Joseph, told al-Wan newspaper on 5 March. Nonetheless, Matib announced that his forces would continue to support the Khartoum Peace Agreement of April 1997.

AFP says the wrangle apparently arose from a reported power struggle over the governorship of the oil-rich Unity (Wehda) state during elections last December. Matib had wanted one of his men as a candidate, but Machar nominated another, who was voted into office. (al-Wan / AFP 5/Mar/98)

SOUTHERN STATES' OFFICIALS REPLACED: President Bashir, `having seen the recommendations of the chairman of the Southern States Coordination Council,' has dismissed the state ministers, commissioners and advisers of Bahr al-Ghazal, Buheyrat (Lakes), Eastern Equatoria, northern Bahr al-Ghazal, western Bahr al-Ghazal, Warap and Wehda (Unity) states and named their replacements. (RSR / SWB 27/Feb/98)



Ali Uthman Muhammad Taha `emphasised that the forthcoming round of talks will be between the Sudan Government and the rebel group [SPLA/M] based on the IGAD declaration of principles,' reported Sudan TV on 3 March. `He indicated that does not terminate the communication with the other parties. Those talks and approaches will go on according to the political and constitutional developments under way.' (Sudan TV / SWB 3/Mar/98)

QADHAFI MEETS MIRGHANI: The Libyan news agency Jana reported on 5 March that Colonel Qadhafi had met Muhammad Uthman al-Mirghani, chairman of the Sudanese Democratic Unionist Party and the National Democratic Alliance and his delegation. (JANA / SWB 5/Mar/98)


ambassador to Sudan, Alan Goulty, met Riek Machar, chair of the Coordination Council for the Southern States, on 8 March. He declared his support for the Egyptian initiative for mediation between the Sudanese regime and the northern opposition, and for a project to remove land-mines, according to SUNA. Goulty said the British government had assigned 1.8m pounds sterling in non-food humanitarian assistance to southern Sudan, to be delivered through the World Food Programme.

Sudan TV notes that Goulty `returned recently from the Red Sea area, where he inspected the projects in which the [British] government is contributing.' (Sudan TV, SUNA / SWB 8/Mar/98)

GHANA'S RAWLINGS MEETS S.P.L.A: President Jerry Rawlings of Ghana received SPLA envoy Deng Alor on 3 March in Accra. Alor `commended Ghana for moral and other support offered to the people of southern Sudan,' says AFP, while `Rawlings called on both sides to emphasise dialogue and diplomacy in the search for a solution to the conflict.' (AFP / SWB 4/Mar/98)


BOMB FOUND IN WAD MEDANI: A number of people have been arrested in Wad Medani after a bomb was discovered in a local government building on 1 March. It was hidden under the generator of the Gezira State Social Affairs ministry, and exploded after the worker who found it threw it away, according to local newspapers. Little damage was caused and there were no reported casualties, says AFP. (AFP / SWB 1/Mar/98)

STUDENT MILITARY CAMP OPENS: A new training camp named Khalid bin al-Walid will begin taking student mujahedin from 21 March, President Bashir told a mass rally at Omdurman Islamic University. He said Sudan would never return to the situation before the National Salvation Revolution of June 1989, and the Sudanese people `would never fear the provocations of antagonists or conspiracies against the homeland.' (SUNA / SWB 18/Mar/98)


IRAQI DELEGATION: A visiting Iraqi parliamentary delegation headed by Dr Ghalib al-Qasim praised Sudan's standing beside Iraq, telling the Sudanese National Assembly Speaker Dr Hassan al-Turabi that both countries were targeted by imperialism and Zionism. The delegation also held a session of talks in which Professor Muhammad Shakir al-Sarraj headed the Sudanese side. (SUNA / SWB 14/Mar/98)

KAMPALA SUMMIT WITH CLINTON: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni announced on 11

March that he would host a summit of 10 regional leaders with US President Bill Clinton in Kampala at the end of the month.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi and Eritrean President Issayas Afeworki would be among the participants, he said, without naming the others. Museveni made the announcement as he flew home at the end of a four-day visit to Ethiopia.

PANA adds, `Clinton begins a five-nation African tour 22 March that will take him to Botswana, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. Museveni said the agenda for the summit will include US-Africa relations and regional security. (PANA 11/Mar/98)


OIL PIPELINE CONSTRUCTION AGREEMENT: Contracts with foreign firms to construct a 1600km petroleum pipeline from Heglig in SW Sudan to Basha'ir harbour on the Red Sea were signed on 21 February. Its cost is put at US$2bn, and on completion - scheduled for July 1999 - it will enable the export of 150,000 barrels per day. Dr Awad al-Jaz, energy and mining minister, said the Investment Promotion Law would provide more encouragement for the companies involved. (Sudan TV / SWB 21/Feb/98)

CHURCHES APPEAL TO BRITAIN: The New Sudan Council of Churches in SPLM-controlled Southern Sudan has written to British ministers Robin Cook and Clare Short to express concern at the involvement of UK companies in the Sudanese oil-fields and pipeline project. Its first two letters have gone unanswered. Two firms - Weir Pumps and Allan Power Diesel - signed a deal with the Khartoum government on 21 February.

`In the eyes of the Southern Sudanese the Government of Sudan is exploiting these oil-fields to the detriment of the South. Southerners believe the oil is a resource of the South. Therefore profits accruing from sales of that oil should be enjoyed equally by the South to build up infrastructure such as education and health. This never happened. Currently those profits from oil sales go directly to fuel the war against the South...

`Equally directly the Government is operating a "scorched earth policy" around the oil fields which has displaced peoples from their natural homes and livelihoods, forcing them to flee and seek aid. Additionally the government has armed each of the two sides of a "clan conflict" in Bentiu area to destabilise the area sufficient for it to continue to exploit the oil. It is employing mercenaries to protect the fields, and for further exploration over ... Jonglei province...

`The NSCC calls upon the British Government to actively enforce its commitment to the rights of peoples in their homelands by exercising some form of sanction preventing British companies from participating in exploitation of innocent peoples of Sudan.' (NSCC Mar/98)

ARAKIS' NEW PRESIDENT: The Board of Directors of Arakis Energy Corporation in Canada has appointed Raymond P Cej as President and Chief Executive Officer, Business Wire announced on 6 February. This follows the stepping down of former CEO Lutfur Rahman Khan, who remains Chairman of the Board.

Mr Cej, a professional engineer, was employed with Shell Canada Limited from 1969-1995 in `exploration, production and marketing of oil, corporate finance, investor relations, financial management and general administration', eventually becoming Senior Operating Officer, Resources.

Latterly Mr Cej was CEO and Chairman of the Board of Kyrgoil Corporation; a Calgary based company with operations in the Kyrgyz Republic of Central Asia. He is also Chairman of the Canadian Association of the World Petroleum Congress and was `instrumental in the development and marketing of the Association's recent successful bid to host the 16th World Petroleum Congress in Calgary, Canada in the year 2000'.

Mr Cej holds a BEng in Chemical Engineering from the Royal Military Colleges System and an MSc, also in Chemical Engineering, from the California Institute of Technology.

Lutfur Rahman Khan, Arakis' chairman, said, "The addition of Mr Cej... represents a formidable management team leading Arakis through the next critical phase of the Sudan Petroleum Project ... the construction of the pipeline and continuing to oil production in 1999." (Business Wire 6/Feb/98)

CHINA SIGNS COOPERATION AGREEMENT: An agreement on commercial and economic cooperation was signed between the Sudanese Businessmen Association and the Chinese International Trade Development Council in Khartoum on 22 February. Dr Ali Yusif, Sudan's ambassador to China, was present at the ceremony.

The chair of the Chinese International Trade Development Council, in a statement to SUNA, said Chinese investment in Sudan `has reached US$1bn up to now.' She added that China is building an oil refinery in Khartoum State.

Trade between China and Sudan is increasing by more than 10 per cent per year, State Minister of Finance Dr Izz al-Din Ibrahim announced on 24 February. (SUNA / SWB 22,24/Feb/98)

NEW GOVERNOR FOR CENTRAL BANK: Dr Sabir Muhammad al-Hassan, former minister of

state for finance, has been appointed as the new governor of the Bank of Sudan, with the rank of minister of state, following a presidential decree on 8 March. (Sudan TV / SWB 8/Mar/98)

HIGH RATES LIMIT INTERNET ACCESS: Sudanet, Sudan's sole Internet Service Provider (ISP) started operations in January 1997. But with only 300 subscribers, the company does not expect to sign up more than an additional 500 hundred during this year, says AROL's Tech Channel in Amman.

The number went down from an initial 2,000, an indication of Sudanet's very high charges for access to the Internet. The Middle East Times criticized the service for `pricing itself out of the market'. `But as a monopoly, Sudanet does not seem to be worried over consumer satisfaction, says AROL.

`Embassies, NGOs and businesses pay $500 and to subscribe and either $100 or $45 in monthly service fees. Government ministries and universities pay $345 and $145 respectively to sign up, then $45 per month. Individual subscribers pay $200 to subscribe with monthly service charges of US$40.

`In spite of the limited subscription base and high fees, Sudanet does not seem to be worried. In fact, the company says its base of customers will grow, explaining the delay as a result of people's need to amass the needed money.

`Sudanet say the lack of awareness about the Internet is the real obstacle. The company aims to tackle the problem by opening Internet cafes in Khartoum.

`Sudanet is not worried about competition. New ISPs seeking to establish themselves in the country must first obtain the backing and permission of the privatized Sudanese telecommunications company Sudatel.'

Sudatel, which has a 35 per cent share in Sudanet, `is unlikely to support new rivals in the market - at least not before Sudanet reaches its maximum subscription capacity of 4,000.' (Middle East Times, AROL Tech Channel, Amman 15/Feb/98)


Slobodian reports that `Calgary companies are doing big business in Sudan ... working alongside the perpetrator largely responsible for ... unacceptable human misery - the ruling National Islamic Front (NIF).

`Arakis Energy Corporation has operated in Sudan for three years. It holds a 25% stake in a $1-billion project to produce 150,000 barrels of oil a day by 1999. Greater Nile Petroleum is the joint operating company of a consortium that includes companies from China and Malaysia and Arakis' subsidiary State Petroleum.

`The project involves construction of a $600-million, 1,500km pipeline to the Red Sea. Calgary's Denim Pipeline Construction Ltd. and Roll'n Oil Field Industries have been contracted to work there.

`Sudan has been harshly criticized, most recently last week by the U.S., for its abysmal human rights record. This apparently does not concern Arakis. Spokesman Kristine Dow says Arakis - which digs wells and built a hospital - is merely trying to do a commercial project that is "beneficial" to the country...

`The guerrilla Sudanese People's Liberation Army (SPLA) ... aims to oust the oppressive NIF. The SPLA makes it clear foreigners in the oil business in Sudan are friends of the government and SPLA enemies.

`Two main reasons: `Money flowing in from foreigners is being used to buy weapons from countries like Iran, Iraq, Libya and China.

`And the oil project displaced thousands who were cleared out of their homes from of an area with a circumference of a four-day walk and taken to compounds where they live in abysmal conditions.

`"It's pretty obvious the rebels would like to discourage our presence," says Dow. But she says Arakis is not in Sudan to interfere in politics... Arakis isn't at all concerned about the slavery. "It's none of our business. We don't believe it (Sudan's government) endorses slavery - because they deny it."

`What about the safety of Canadians working there? `"Of course, we're aware of the political situation. We find it's an acceptable level of risk. Individuals have not felt threatened in any way doing any work," says Dow.

`"We had one incident recently. We never did find out what the source is," says Dow, in reference to last August when State Petroleum employee Marvin Johnson was shot in the foot. "We really don't have any problems," says Dow.

`Well, that's different from what employees say. `"That incident was downplayed as bandits going for his wristwatch. Not fair. Twenty guerrillas were waiting for him on the road - and took shots at him," says one, who asked not to be identified.

`Do workers know the danger? "Yes and no. And if you talk to a lot of people in the office in Calgary, they have no idea."

`The Arakis camp is protected by People's Defence Forces soldiers and hired "mercenaries." The main camp, Heglig, is 800 km south of Sudan's capital of Khartoum. There are about 175 Canadians working on this project. Their protectors are armed with ... a 50-calibre machine gun on the back of a Toyota, and a little rocket launcher. And they are less than professional. One local working in the warehouse tried to steal an empty jerry can - probably to use to collect water. `"The soldiers beat him and made him crawl like an animal to beg the Canadians for forgiveness. Then they beat him again," says the Arakis employee...

`A drilling employee isn't much impressed with security and wonders if the risk has been downplayed.

`"We have the government army around us. They'd probably be the first to run. No one tells you anything. I don't want to be working for people who abuse people."

`Mel Middleton, a consultant who worked with relief projects and as an adviser to Canada's High Commission in Nairobi, lived in the Horn of Africa 26 years.

`"The Canadians are in danger. Someone is irresponsible in not letting them know how much," says Middleton. "The SPLA sees them working with the government, using incoming money to buy weapons."

`Middleton talked to SPLA leader John Garang. "He told me they will attack." Another SPLA commander, Pagan Amum, told Middleton they will treat foreigners like the enemy.

`"Last October, I talked to Commander Edward Lino who was on his way to attack Arakis... What stopped him was the heavy rain that fell making it impossible to get his trucks across the Jur River," he says.

`"I know the Arakis leadership is aware of the security risks. I reported it to the Canadian High Commission in Nairobi. "They've warned Arakis over and over again that their lives are in danger."

`Perhaps the strength of the SPLA - known to be a ragtag, splintered army - is not appreciated. "In the past year and a half, they've been under some serious militia training," says Middleton. "The SPLA deserves credit for coming a long way."

`"The NIF's clever," says Middleton. "It's allowed aid into some areas controlled by the SPLA, making it look most benevolent. "What the world doesn't always see are the hunger pockets and areas ripped by slave raids where aid groups aren't allowed - like Nyamlell, where I sneaked into. "Somebody can go into large areas and say, 'What's the hype?'" [...]

`"Any black Southerner is at risk," says Middleton. "But everybody gets information from the U.N. in Khartoum, from people sympathetic to Islam." [...]

`Canada was giving Sudan up to $30 million a year in humanitarian aid.` Assistance started dwindling in 1993 to nothing last year.

`Sudan is not on anybody's priority list. Sudan doesn't matter. Mel Middleton, a consultant and expert on the issue, says... "Unless the Canadian government is constantly bombarded with, 'Why aren't you doing something for Sudan,' it won't do anything." (Vancouver Sun 16/Feb/98)


O.A.U MINISTERIAL MEETING IN KHARTOUM: The ministerial council of the Organisation of African Unity has agreed unanimously to hold its review of refugee problems in Africa in Khartoum, says SUNA. Uthman al-Sayyid, Sudan's ambassador to Ethiopia, envoy to the OAU and chairman of the OAU's refugees committee, reported that there are six million refugees and 20 million displaced people in Africa. SUNA comments that the decision is `a diplomatic and political victory for Sudan as well as a blow to the American policy which attempted to isolate Sudan from its sister Africans.' (SUNA / SWB 2/Mar/98)


WOMEN FACE "BERLIN WALL": Sudanese women have a long way to go before they break down the "Berlin Wall" of human rights violations and inequalities, reports InterPress Service. It cites a 32-page study by the Babiker Badri Scientific Society for Women Studies at Ahfad Women's University which says women have little or no access to resources and lack political and social support from the state.

`Women comprise 32.6 percent of the labor force in rural areas and 14.7 percent of the labor force in urban centers, the study says, adding that rural women are major players in the agricultural sector. However, they have no legal access to land ownership, and they often do not control the money generated from their agricultural labor.

`"The women working on the farms of relatives do not earn any revenue. These family farms belong to the male head of the family," the study says.

`"Since women do not enjoy tenure rights, they usually hire themselves out to work on the farms of others for a low income."

`Samia al-Hadi al-Nagar, a university lecturer at Ahfad University, says that women in the rural areas only have control of the income they receive from selling milk and other products they make in the home. Women still lag far behind men in every aspect of land rights, adds Nagar. Land and property in Sudan is normally registered in the name of the male head of household or some other male relative. Women who have been deserted by their husbands are left landless and destitute, since they are not allowed to stay on the land. Without control over property or land, women are not able to access credit or loans to advance economically since the banks only grant loans to those who own property or land which is used as collateral.

`... Sudanese women are not a homogeneous group. "The role of women varies widely between the villages, urban areas, and among the different levels of social classes in many parts of Sudan," the report says.

`But despite their differences, Nagar says all women have been marginalised by the lack of legislation ... to protect their human rights. The university lecturer blames religious and traditional leaders for many of the cultural norms and restrictions on Sudanese women. If women are to achieve gender equality, Nagar says, they must break with traditions that violate their rights, and the women's movements in Sudan must break down the "Berlin Wall" of restrictions on women. [...]

`In 1996, the government slightly lifted restrictions on women travelling abroad. Married Sudanese women can now travel freely without permission from their husbands or elder brothers. But young girls are still required by law to seek the permission of their fathers or elder brothers when travelling abroad, or even within Sudan. (IPS 10/Feb/98)


HEALTH RISK FROM STALE FOOD: An inspection campaign by the Sudanese Standards and Measurement Board into stale food and drink items being sold in Khartoum has found date-expired commodities widely traded included milk, sweets, biscuits, sardines, tea, flour, rice, edible oil and squash, both locally produced and imported. The items were not labelled with their date of production, ingredients or weight.

The campaign was prompted by rampant cases of cancer and kidney failure in Khartoum state, according to Ismail Mekki Muhammad, state minister of economic affairs, who urged consumers to report expired or contaminated food to the quality control administration without hesitation. Merchants caught selling food unfit for consumption would be taken to court, he told al-Rai al-Akher. (al-Rai al-Akher / DPA Feb/98)


PROTECTION ASSURED: Human rights in Sudan are `protected according to values conventions and religions', the Sudanese National Assembly's human rights committee said on 13 March in a meeting with a team from the UN Human Rights Commission. After giving the team this "full briefing", it invited international observers `to see by themselves how fairly human rights are innately preserved.'

`Allegations about persecution practised by Muslims against Christians and others in the Nuba Mountains were false and unfounded,' said SUNA, quoting the deputy chairman of the committee, and the UN commission has pledged assistance to Sudan in the field of human rights. (SUNA / SWB 13/Mar/98)

SUDAN UPDATE can accept no responsibility for the truth or accuracy of the original reports reviewed herein nor any claim for defamation or infringement of copyright arising out of their publication. Single quote marks `...' enclose source texts; double quotes "..." indicate direct speech. Information added for clarity by the editors is signalled by square parentheses [SU].

FREQUENT SOURCES: AC = Africa Confidential / AI = Amnesty International / HRA = Human Rights Watch Africa / ION = Indian Ocean Newsletter / MEI = Middle East International / MENA = Middle East News Agency (Egypt) / RSR = Republic of Sudan Radio / SEB = Sudan News (Sudan Embassy Bulletin) / SUNA = Sudan News Agency / SWB = Summary of World Broadcasts (BBC Monitoring Service)

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Sudan Update, PO Box 10, Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire HX7 6UX England Tel/Fax: +44-1422-845827 E-mail: ISSN 1352-0393

Peter Verney (


Date: Fri, 15 May 1998

From: (Peter Verney)

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar

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